Antrim Camogs make perfect start in Senior Championship campaign

Glen Dimplex Senior championship

Offaly 1-10 Antrim 4-18

ANTRIM announced their arrival in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie championship by going to Birr on Saturday and thrashing the home side by 4-18 to 1-10.

However Antrim, promoted as winners of last season’s Intermediate title, looked in bother after 20 minutes when Offaly took a 1-5 to 0-4 lead, Máiréad Teehan scoring the home side’s goal after six minutes.

But the Saffrons outscored them by 1-5 to 0-2 in the ten minutes before the break with the goal coming in injury time goal from Áine Magill.

Róisín McCormick scored four times before the break with Caoimhe Wright picking up two points and one each for Caitrín Dobbin, Lucia McNaughton and Áine Magill.

There was a mini scoring blitz at the start to the second half with each team hitting three points inside five minutes (two McCormick frees and another point from Magill).

However Róisín McCormick put daylight between the teams with a 39th minute goal and Loughgiel club-mate Caitrin Dobbin added a goal and two points inside two minutes before the final quarter began. That left a gap of 3-15 to 1-10 that Offaly were not going to close.

Áine Magill bagged her second goal in the 51st minute while McCormick went on to claim a goal and eight points in a comprehensive win for the Ulster side.

Máiréad Teehan and Sarah Harding were a threat for Offaly, but once the Saffrons got in control of the score-board that threat disappeared. Best for Antrim were Laoise McKenna in defence, Nicole O’Neill in midfield and forwards Roisin McCormick, Caitrin Dobbin and Áine Magill tore the home defence apart.

Antrim travel to Down for their next game on Saturday 28th May.

Antrim: Caitriona Graham, Chloe Drain, Niamh Donnelly, Amy Boyle, Colleen Patterson, Caoimhe Conlon, Laoise McKenna, Lucia McNaughton capt 0-1, Nicole O’Neill 0-1 free, Siobhan McKillop, Roisin McCormack 1-8 (0-6 frees), Áine Magill 2-2, Caoimhe Wright 0-3, Maedhbh Laverty, Caitrin Dobbin 1-3.

Subs: Maria Lynn for S McKillop (53), Katie McKillop for C Dobbin (56).

Offaly : Eleanor Clendennen, Sarah Guinan, Aisling Feeney, Orla Gorman, Sarah Walsh, Roisin Egan capt., Orlagh Phelan, Aisling Brennan 0-1, Louise Mannion, Sarah Harding 0-2, Grace Teehan 0-1, Christine Cleary, Clodagh Leahy, Mairead Teehan 1-6 (0-4 frees), Siobhan Flannery.

Subs: Siobhan Killeen for S Guinan (47), Edwina King for G Teehan (54)

Kerry Edge Saffrons in Final Dress Rehearsal

Joe McDonagh Cup

Antrim 2-21 Kerry 0-29

Antrim suffered defeat for the first time in this years McDonagh Cup despite a late rally.  Two goals in the closing stages meant it was high drama in Corrigan Park but the Kingdom held on in what turned out to be a dress-rehearsal for the final in two weeks time.  On a day when Antrim wanted to win but Kerry needed to, Carlow’s victory over Offaly saw Stephen Molomphy’s side finish in second place in the group thanks to their superior scoring difference.

As word filtered through that the Barrowsiders were poised to claim the win in Tullamore, Kerry appeared comfortable in Belfast, but two injury-time goals left just one in it as there was a chance that Kerry were about to blow it, but as it was, the Kingdom managed to find the answers when their backs were to the wall to hold on and stamp their ticket for the decider.

Podge Boyle top-scored with 15 points in a flawless display, while Eoin Ross chipped in with four and Paudie O’Connor played a captain’s part to help his side get over the line and reach the decider for the third year running to set up a repeat of the 2020 final that went Antrim’s way.

Darren Gleeson opted to ring the changes for this game and he will have been fairly happy with how his side kept scrapping to the end in an effort to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition, but with the final already in their sights, this game was about getting minutes into legs and allowing others to take a break after a hectic run of fixtures since the start of the season.
Kerry was the side that absolutely had to win this game and with the aid of a strong wind, they began with intent, rattling off the first four points with Eoin Ross setting them on their way and Podge Boyle hitting three of his nine first half-scores.

Antrim began to awaken with James McNaughton and Eoin O’Neill registering, but Kerry remained a step ahead until the Saffrons gradually began to assert themselves with a pair of Nail McManus points sandwiching one from Michael Bradley.

Points from Aaron Bradley and Conor McCann had the sides locked at 0-7 on 22 minutes, but after an exchange of points, Kerry regained control with five of the next six points – three from Boyle with Fionan MacKessy and Ross getting in on the act.

A pair of James McNaughton frees brought Antrim to within two, but a Boyle free on the stroke of half-time left the visitors 0-14 to 0-11 to the good, although they were aggrieved play wasn’t allowed to continue for that late free as Shane Conway buried to the net although play had been brought back.

Despite playing into the wind in the second period, the Kingdom began to pull clear with Eoin Ross setting them on their way, Colum Harty getting on the sheet, Jordan Conway popping over off the bench and Ross adding to his tally.

A pair of James McNaughton points was all Antrim had to show for the third quarter as Kerry pushed the gap out to seven, but the introduction of Keelan Molloy and Daniel McKernan sparked Antrim to life as they narrowed the gap to three, but Kerry managed to stay ahead with Fionan MacKessy hitting back-to-back scores.

As news filtered through that Carlow were ahead in Tullamore, Kerry looked in a good place as Boyle, Ross and Gavin Dooley pushed them into a seven-point lead, but then this game took a huge swing towards Antrim in stoppage time as Keelan Molloy fed Conal Bohill to blast home.

Jordan Conway responded with a point for Kerry, but then Neil Mcmanus found the net with a low shot in traffic that left just one between the teams.

Boyle’s 15th point of the day settled Kerry, but a point from McKernan left it a very nervy finish, yet as they did all afternoon, Kerry found an answer with Paudie O’Connor sealing their victory and place in the final with the last act of the game.


ANTRIM: R Elliott; D Kearney, N O’Connor, P Duffin; R McGarry, M Donnelly, C Bohill (1-1); S Walsh, M Bradley (0-4); E O’Neill (0-1), R McCambridge, J McNaughton (0-9, 8 frees); N McManus (1-2), C McCann (0-1), A Bradley (0-1)

Subs: K Molloy (0-1) for R McCambridge (49), D McKernan (0-1) for S Walsh (49), G Walsh for P Duffin (61), J Maskey for C McCann (61), S Rooney for D Kearney (70)
KERRY: L Dee; P O’Connor (0-1), E Leen, C O’Keefe; S Weir, M Boyle, F MacKessy (0-4); M Leane, P Boyle (0-15, 12 frees); C Walsh (0-1), S Conway, E Ross (0-4); G Dooley (0-1), N Mulcahy, C Harty (0-1).

Subs: J Conway (0-2) for N Mulcahy (26), M O’Connor for C Harty (56), B Lonergan for S Conway (68), F O’Sullivan for G Dooley (70), M Heffernan for C Walsh (70+5)
REFEREE: John Keenan (Wicklow)

St. Paul’s move to the top of the table

ACFL Division 2 Reserve

St. Paul’s 4-7  St. Joseph’s 1-9

Photographs: Bert Trowlen

St. Pauls moved to the top of the division 2 reserve football league following this excellent seven point win over a previously well placed Glenavy at Shaw’s Road last night. The home side struck with two goals in the opening half and added two more in the second to overcome the challenge of the Chapel Hill side.

Eugene Reid pointed St. Pauls ahead with a fine long range effort early in the game and the same player put them in a strong position from the penalty spot to move them 1-2 to 0-2 ahead with Davey Nelson on target for the Visitors.

Anthony O’Hare moved St. Paul’s four ahead nearing the end of the opening quarter but St. Joseph’s rallied during the second quarter with points from Luke Devereux 0-3 and Davey Nelson they were back on level terms.

It got even better for Glenavy when Mickley McCourt was on hand to finish a rebound off the cross to the St. Paul’s net and move them three in front but, significantly, Conall Duffy replied with a goal for the Shaw’s Road side just before the break to leave it 2-3 to 1-6 as the half time whistle sounded.

Patrick Doyle edged St. Paul’s ahead again with a point on the restart with Luke Devereux replying for the visitors to tie matters once more before things began to swing back in favour of the home side.

Caomhin Killyleah split the posts and Patrick Doyle followed with a fine long range effort and Conall Duffy sent an overhead effort between the uprights before Killyleah reacted quickest to a rebound off the post to finish to the net and the ‘Hoops’ were 3-7 to 1-6 ahead and looking good.

St. Joseph’s staged a short rally with Luke Devereux and Mickey McCourt on target to reduce the deficit to five going down the home straight but Killyleah drove the final nail into the visitor’s coffin when he hammered the ball to the Glenavy net as he got on the end of a sweeping counter attack from deep in their own half late in the game.

St. Paul’s now sit proudly on the top of the table with 8 points from four starts with Glenavy and Sarsfields on six points but the Chapel Hill side have played a game more.

St. Paul’s: 1 Jonathan Rodgers, 2 Rossa Morgan, 3 Gary NcGroarty, 4 Fionn Ireland, 5 Micael Duffy, 6 Damien Magee, 7 Pearse Magee, 8 Liam Og Magee, 9 Stephen O’Brien, 10 Eoghan Brennan, 11 Patrick Doyle, 12 Conall Duffy, 13 Caoimhin Duffy, 14 Eugene Reid, 16 Ruairi Hamill, 17 Sean Munce, 18 Callum Murray, 19  Niall Martin, 20 Caomhin Killileagh   

Glenavy: 1 Lorcan Murphy, 2 Conor Loney, 3 Sean McGirr, 4 Eopin Mitchell, 5 Darrsgh Armstrong, 6 Pearse O’Neill, 7 Shay O’Neill, 8 Stevie Doone, 9 Ben McCambridge, 10 Matthew Horner, 11 Charles Gallagher, 12 David Nelson, 13 Michael McCourt, 14 Frank Corr, 15 Luke Devereux, 17 Anthony O’Hare

Cargin continue to lead the way

A F League Div One (reserve)

Cargin keep on the Winning Trail

Erin’s Own Cargin 2-12 Lamh Dhearg 0-02

Cargin second string continued to lead the way in the division one reserve league when they proved too strong from their counterparts from Hannahstown on their own sward in a dominant display on Friday evening last.

Lamh Dhearg opened their account early in play when Francis Dougan sent a close range free between the posts but with John Carron and Odhran Molloy dominating the central zone the Toome lads had nipped into a 0-04 to 0-01 advantage by the 10th minute.

John Mc Nabb on the cusp of another good outing raised a couple of points in the early stages with the pace laden PJ Quinn and Mark Kelly also adding scores apiece.

Cargin dominated from the outset with the visitors Anthony Byrne and Ciaran Boyd striving to take the Hannahstown men lads forward but with little success and Cargin’s PJ Quinn was denied by the intervention of the crossbar John Mc Nabb was to make amends shortly after.

A superb inch perfect delivery from Shay Bovill from his left sided berth was well directed into the arms of the advancing John Mc Nabb and promptly delivered to the back of the net at the end of the first quarter.

Despite the sterling efforts of Niall Mc Garry and Ciaran Boyd the visitors, facing a stiff westerly breeze found the going tough with John McNabb and Conan Johnston adding back to back points at the other end the home side looked on top.

The Lamh Dhearg net minder denied Eoin Coyle in the latter stages of the opening period and although the home side led 1-08 to 0-01 advantage at the end of the first period the visitors were to have the stiff breeze as a friend in the second thirty minutes.

Despite facing the breeze in the second half Cargin resumed on the attack and Shay Bovill combined with PJ Quinn to open the way for Mark Kelly to add a second goal.

Conan Johnston added a second point to his credit and it was followed by another from John McNabb and the die did look cast.

The Hannahstown men were not about to throw in the towel despite the odds firmly stacked against them and a superb long range point from Ciaran Boyd hinted at a late resurgence.

The home side were having none of it however as they sent a full complement of replacements into the mix in the last quarter.

The visitors came close to a goal in the latter stages but replacement net minder Tomas Laverty made a splendid save to prevent Francis Dougan’s crisply hit strike finding the back of his net.

John Mc Nabb added a point to increase his personal haul in the latter stages with late replacement Kieran Close signalled his arrival with a late trade mark point to ensure his side took the chequered flag on a winning scoreline of 2-12 to 0-02.

Cargin: Shea Laverty, Sean og Quinn, Gerard Mc Corley, Mark Keegan, Conan Johnston (0-02), Brian Og Devlin, Benen Kelly, Odhran Molloy, John Carron (0-01),Eoin Coyle, Mark Kelly (1-01),  Paudie Mc Laughlin, PJ Quinn (0-01), John Mc Nabb (1-06), Shay Bovill

Subs

Ben Dobbin for O Molloy

Jack Mc Allister for E Coyle

Tomas Laverty for S Laverty

Michael Clarke for P Mc Laughlin

Kieran Close (0-01) for PJ Quinn

Jamie Hughes for M Kelly

Lamh Dhearg: Rhys Camlin, Conor Rogan, Christopher Nolan, Aaron Mc Cluskey, Sean Paul Gibson, Ryan Diamond, Charlie Mc Cluskey, Morgan Pettigrew, Anthony Byrne, Conor Rogan, Niall Mc Garry, Ciaran Boyd (0-01), Aiden Mc Caigue, Francis Dougan (0-01), Brendan Mc Crudden.

Referee S Laverty (St Ergnat’s)

Antrim camogs step up to Senior

Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Camogie Championships

There are four tiers in the All-Ireland championships, Senior, Intermediate, Premier Junior and the Nancy Murray Cup. Teams playing in higher grades may enter a second team in Intermediate or Junior. There is promotion and relegation from each grade at the end of the championship.

The All-Ireland senior championship has taken place every year since 1932 and just seven counties have won the title – Cork (28 titles, last in 2018), Dublin (26, 1984), Kilkenny (14, 2020), Wexford (7, 2012), Antrim (6, 1979), Tipperary (5, 2004) and current champions Galway with four titles.

Almost 50 years ago winning the provincial championship to gain a place in the All-Ireland was abandoned in favour of an Open Draw and that has since been replaced around two decades ago by group qualification for the knock-out stages.

The camogie championships culminates in a triple-header All Ireland final at Croke Park on Sunday, August 7. The Premier Junior final leads into the Intermediate final and the afternoon ends with the senior championship final.

The Nancy Murray Cup final is on Saturday, August 6 with the winner going through to next year’s Premier Junior championship.

THERE are 12 counties in the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior championship, divided into two groups. The All-Ireland finalists (Galway & Cork) and semi-finalists (Kilkenny & Tipperary) from last year were seeded to have one of each in a group. The Groups are:

Group One: Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Dublin and Clare.

Group Two: Galway, Kilkenny, Down, Antrim, Limerick and Offaly.

The top team in each group will go into this year’s semi-final, while second and third placed in each will contest quarter-finals. Bottom placed team in each group will face each other in a relegation play-off.

ANTRIM

Antrim have plenty going for them not least the fact that they been senior champions on six occasions, although the last of those was more than 40 years ago.

They won last year’s All-Ireland Intermediate championship with a flamboyant performance in Croke Park and most recently beat Down to reclaim the Ulster senior title. The start to that game was also excellent with two goals inside ten minutes and plenty of ball sprayed out to the wings. Defence was also super-tight in that Ulster final, and Down didn’t create a single goal chance.

However that was not the case in Croke Park a month earlier when they played Wexford in the Littlewoods National League Division Two final; opened up at the back in the opening 20 minutes and battling after that to avoid a heavy defeat.

Although they easily beat Kilkenny’s second string in Croke Park last September, they conceded 2-13 in that game.

The Saffrons played the recent Ulster final without regular midfielder Nicole O’Neill and defender Maria Lynn, while Maeve Kelly looks to be out for the season with a broken bone in her foot.

Kelly’s long term absence has meant opportunities up front for three new panel members, Caoimhe Wright, Siobhán McKillop and Maedhbh Laverty. All three have shown flashes of potential without achieving the consistency needed to deliver against the top teams.

The temporary absences of Lynn and O’Neill saw a reshuffle at the back. As a result play-anywhere Amy Boyle could find herself settled into a one-on-one marking job in defence for the rest of the season.

Last year Antrim found minor Áine Magill between league and championship and she added the little extra. With the minors successful for the last two years and the county’s second team also going well, there could be more treasure unearthed.

The Saffrons start their campaign with two away games and finish up with three games at home.

The opener against Offaly is a game they could well win, although they would probably be more confident had the game been at a north Antrim venue.

The result in that game should indicate what lies ahead.

A win, and expectation would rise that they can reach the quarter-final. Even a draw would be a good platform for progress. Defeat on the other hand could well leave them, like Down last season, struggling to find their rhythm.

If they get anything from Tullamore, then you would expect them to beat Down in the second game and all would depend on the final group game against Limerick.

Antrim panel: Cáitríona Graham, Amy Boyle, Chloe Drain, Katie McKillop, Colleen Patterson, Caoimhe Conlon, Laoise McKenna, Lucia McNaughton capt., Niamh Cosgrove, Áine Magill, Róisín McCormick, Christine Laverty, Caitrin Dobbin, Maedhbh Laverty, Caoimhe Wright, Siobhán McKillop, Niamh Anne Donnelly, Nicole O’Neill, Maria Lynn, Clare McKillop, Catherine McShane, Eimear Boyle, Ciara Laverty, Maeve Kelly.